Enlargement of the axillary lymph nodes (axillary lymphadenopathy) is an excessive growth of lymphoid formations in the armpits, in which palpable nodes appear more than 1 cm in diameter. The symptom is observed in inflammatory diseases and breast cancer, hemoblastoses, infectious processes. To identify the root causes of axillary lymphadenopathy, ultrasound, x-ray, cytological, and laboratory studies are performed. The appointment of medications is indicated only after the establishment of the disease that provoked lymphoid hyperplasia.
Usually, the growth of lymphoid tissue is due to inflammatory pathologies or breast cancer in women. The symptom also manifests itself in infections, lymphoproliferative processes and hemoblastoses, skin cancer with localization near the axillary region. Less commonly, the cause of enlarged lymph nodes are frequent colds in chronic fatigue syndrome, which are accompanied by increased differentiation of lymphocytes. Axillary lymphadenopathy can develop with Mikulich's disease - an autoimmune process with damage to the lymphoid tissue, salivary and lacrimal glands.
The main symptoms of benign fibrocystic changes in the breast are pain and induration, which often occur in the second half of the cycle. Enlargement and soreness of the axillary lymph nodes are typical for 10-15% of women. Adenosis is one of the forms of mastopathy, which is manifested by a limited growth of glandular tissue in the mammary gland, discharge from the nipple. A slight increase in axillary lymph nodes is possible with a diffuse variant of the lesion.
Inflammation of the mammary gland often begins in women after childbirth, which is caused by the penetration of a staphylococcal infection against the background of lactostasis. Enlargement of lymph nodes with lactational mastitis is unilateral, they are painful on palpation, mobile. Women complain of intense pain in the chest, swelling and redness of the skin of the breast. The disease is characterized by high body temperature, symptoms of intoxication. Less commonly, non-lactational mastitis is observed, which occurs due to hematogenous infection, trauma to the skin of the chest. A severe complication of mastitis is an abscess of the mammary gland, which occurs with violations of the general condition of the woman, severe pain in the affected breast, and febrile fever.
The first metastases in this malignant neoplasm in 60-70% are localized in the axillary lymph nodes, subclavian and parasternal lymphoid formations can also be affected. Lymphadenopathy is caused by the multiplication of tumor cells. On palpation, the formations are dense, painless, soldered to the skin and surrounding tissues. Breast cancer can occur in men and is always accompanied by an increase in regional lymph nodes.
A malignant breast tumor is asymptomatic for a long time, with the progression of neoplasia, complaints of pain, serous or bloody discharge from the nipple appear. Other clinical symptoms depend on the variant of the disease: in Paget's cancer, erosions of the nipple and areola are observed, accompanied by weeping, triple-negative cancer is characterized by rapid development and metastasis. With a combination of enlarged lymph nodes with other alarming symptoms, a woman should contact a mammologist as soon as possible.
In such infectious diseases, axillary lymphadenopathy is caused both by the direct reproduction of the pathogen in the foci of the lymphoid tissue, and by increased stimulation of the immune system by antigens of microorganisms. Enlarged lymph nodes usually have an elastic consistency, not soldered to neighboring anatomical structures. To the proliferation of lymphoid tissue lead:
In lymphoproliferative conditions, an increase in the nodes of the axillary region is due to a pathological increase in the production and differentiation of white blood cells under the influence of carcinogenic factors. The category of hemoblastoses includes two large groups of diseases - lymphomas, in which the primary focus is located in peripheral lymphoid formations, and leukemias, occurring with damage to the bone marrow. Pathologies are characterized by a severe course with a pronounced violation of the general condition. Signs of axillary lymphadenopathy are manifested:
Diseases accompanied by the introduction of foreign microorganisms often occur with symptoms of lymphadenopathy. This is due to accelerated division and antigen-dependent differentiation of lymphocytes. More often, an increase in axillary lymph nodes is observed during infection with Koch's bacillus and tuberculosis intoxication, which is associated with the path of penetration of the pathogen and the anatomical features of the lymph outflow from the chest organs. The most common causes of axillary lymphadenopathy are:
If you complain about an increase in axillary lymph nodes, you should contact a hematologist who will prescribe a comprehensive examination. Diagnostic search is aimed at finding out the root cause of lymphadenopathy and assessing the morphological structure of the affected lymphoid formation. The most informative are such research methods as:
To confirm a preliminary diagnosis, additional studies and consultations of other specialists may be required. With possible tuberculosis, X-ray of the lungs in two projections, sputum culture, tuberculin tests are recommended. In doubtful cases, a bone marrow biopsy is performed to exclude hemoblastoses. Serological studies are prescribed to detect antibodies to infectious agents or tissues of one's own body (in autoimmune processes).
Ultrasound of the lymph nodes of the axillary region
The tactics of managing patients with axillary lymphadenopathy involves the appointment of treatment only after an accurate diagnosis has been made. If an increase in lymph nodes is due to inflammatory or infectious diseases, it disappears on its own after etiotropic and pathogenetic therapy. In case of malignant neoplasms of the mammary glands and hemoblastoses, complex treatment is prescribed with a combination of conservative and surgical methods.